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NBA ref who may have used anonymous Twitter account to defend himself retires

Newly retired NBA referee Eric Lewis. Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images.


Back in late May, the NBA opened an investigation into one of the its longtime referees. Eric Lewis, who had been with the league for 19 seasons, was suspected of using the Twitter account “blair cuttliff” to defend himself and other refs facing public criticism for their questionable calls. Three months later, Lewis has retired, and the NBA has simultaneously closed its investigation into whether he violated company policy by publicly commenting on officiating without the league’s express authorization.

On June 1, the Associated Press reported that Lewis had not been selected as part of the 12-piece officiating team for last season’s NBA Finals between the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat. “Regarding Eric Lewis and the social media posts, we are continuing to review the matter and he will not be working the finals,” league spokesman Mike Bass told the AP at the time. (Lewis had worked the previous four championships.)

The NBA has now resolved the matter. On Wednesday, August 30, the league posted the following statement on its official website: “NBA referee Eric Lewis has informed the league office that he is retiring, effective immediately. In light of his decision, the NBA’s investigation into social media activity has been closed.”

As the AP notes, the 52-year-old Lewis worked more than 1,200 combined regular season and playoff games over course of his career. His final day of work was Game 1 of the Western Conference finals between the Nuggets and the Lakers in Denver, about a week before the NBA was made aware of the since-deleted tweets from the “cuttliff” account.